Dyepkazah Shibayan, The CableNG
Simon Karu, a House of Reps Member from Gombe state, says he and his colleagues receive a sum of about N9.3 million monthly.
Karu said although the salary of a legislator in the lower legislative chamber is N800,000, they receive N8.5 million as “running cost”.
The total take-home pay of members of the national assembly has been shrouded in secrecy.
In 2018, Shehu Sani, then senator representing Kaduna central, disclosed that senators get N13.5 million monthly — aside from salaries.
Speaking at an event to mark the country’s 60th Independence Day anniversary on Thursday in Abuja, the Gombe lawmaker said most of the money is channelled to his constituents who ask for assistance.
The theme of the event was ‘FixingNigeria at 60 – Sustainable and efficient democracy: Issues on accountability and transparency in governance’.
“The official salary of a member, house of representatives, which I also receive monthly is N800,000. I told you I was going to say it; why don’t you wait for me to say it? The office running cost of a member of the house of representatives is N8.5 million,” Karu said.
“Those of you who know, know that I said exactly what it is. The problem is what the constituents demand, and when you don’t meet [up], they begin to call you names.
“Just before I walked to the stage I received three emails from my constituents demanding money and jobs. When you don’t, it becomes an issue.”
On his part, Dino Melaye, former senator representing Kogi west, said a lot of the country’s problems would be addressed if corruption becomes a thing of the past.
“If you get the fight against corruption right, every other thing will be fixed,” Melaye said.
Melaye also called for the establishment of a national office to address the problem of budget padding.
“We need a national budget office. Nigeria is the only country without such an office and until we have it, budget padding will not stop,” he said.
Also speaking, Senator Iroegbu, editor-in-chief, Global Sentinel, said solutions must be provided to the security challenges confronting the country.
Iroegbu said the security challenges have continued unabated owing to structural defects in the country’s security architecture.
“No matter the kind of budget we throw, if the political culture is corrupt, we can do nothing,” he said.